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What Makes Veolia Campaigns So Brilliant!

Are you considering a BDS campaign in your local community? Veolia campaigns are becoming among the most popular BDS campaigns in the United States for many good reasons...

●   In Sonoma County, California a town hall style hearing on  a proposed Veolia contract illustrated how a local Veolia campaign can be one of the best educational, empowering, movement-building, and media-garnering models out there. And it is a clear manifestation of people vs. corporations.

●   The North Coast Coalition for Palestine made this awesome toolkit that you can use to start a campaign!

●   Veolia is an easy target and opens the door to important coalition-building. In addition to human rights abuses in Palestine, it is renowned for anti-labor practices, mismanagement, corruption, bribery, embezzlement, fraud, failure to make good on promised improvements, and atrocious environmental practices. It is the largest water privatization company in the world. It's an opportunity to work in coalition with natural allies including environmentalist groups and labor. Click here to see a facts sheet that the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee used to help build the broad St. Louis Dump Veolia Coalition.

●   Veolia's former bus lines on segregated West Bank roads made it a compelling target because of parallels with segregated buses in the Jim Crow South. The Palestinian Freedom Riders, inspired by the U.S. Civil Rights Freedom Riders, helped solidify this natural connection, which can be educational and good for coalition-building with communities of color and others. Click here for a sample letter from the Palestinian Freedom Riders that helped support a local campaign. Now that Veolia sold off its bus lines in Israel/Palestine (story here), they can be referenced as something of the past and an illustration of the power of BDS campaigns to influence Veolia's practices. 

●   State campaigns targeting public pension funds offer another avenue for putting the pressure on Veolia. In California, CalPERS, the largest public pension fund in the US, responded to the 5,000 petitions submitted by the Israel Divestment Campaign. It has recently announced that it is “engaging” with Veolia, the process that is the usual prelude to divestment.

●   Dump Veolia is considered the world's flagship BDS campaign, with more victories (in number and scope) than any other campaign. Across the ocean, we can support one another and apply pressure from all sides on Veolia, rather than all working on separate campaigns.

●   The campaign is flexible. See the different angles outlined here.

●   Campaigning against Veolia fits into the nationwide We Divest Campaign, so your local work strengthens the national momentum as well.

●   This is something every community group can do, not limited to campuses, churches, and other niches.

The most useful part of Veolia's presentation in Sonoma County was a map of existing Veolia U.S. operations, a road map to many more potential campaigns!

The model of putting the occupation on trial in local arenas can and should be replicated across the country. Convinced? Get started!

And don't forget: You have support! This campaign was selected as a priority at our 2011 National Organizers' Conference and we're here to help! If you find you need additional support for your campaign, contact us and we'll see what we can do!